More than 1,000 residents of Gardena and neighboring communities have signed a petition opposing plans to build a market next to a natural wetland area in Gardena, organizers say.
Jeremiah George of the recently formed Gardena Quality of Life Committee said the petition will be presented to the Gardena City Council next month.
City officials want a vacant 10-acre strip of land at Artesia Boulevard and Vermont Avenue developed for a Smith's Food & Drug Center.
But some Gardena residents want the land turned into a recreational area that would incorporate an adjacent 7.3 acres of wetland forest, known as the Gardena Willows.
"I just don't want to see a market go in there because the area is a remnant of a huge wetland area, and it's so biologically significant," George said.
The committee held a forum at the Nakaoka Center Monday night to discuss the city's plan and alternative uses for the site.
City Manager Kenneth W. Landau said the issue comes before the council at a public hearing on Oct. 11.
"That will be the appropriate time for the alternatives to come forward," Landau said.
The Gardena Quality of Life Committee is working with the Los Angeles Recreation and Open Space Committee, another residents' group that first proposed a recreational alternative to the development.